My library posted this wonderful quote by David McCullough on Facebook the other day and I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea. It is true that books can change our lives and characters can have tremendous impact on us. In my own experience, I think the book and character of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, read (the first time) when I was in the 7th Grade, had a lifetime impact on me. I read many of the books my older brother read, and I remember that after he finished Jane Eyre he told me he thought I would like that book. I most certainly did! I have vivid memories of scenes and impressions from the book. The strength and resilience of the character, Jane, made a large imprint on my both my heart and my psyche.
Since then, I have found many influential characters and more favorite books. But that first encounter with a character that I admired deeply, and was so influenced by, was a life-expanding experience for me. And for that, it will always be my “favorite book.”
Which is your special book and life-changing character?
With the darker, colder days arriving, I found it much harder to keep my spirits up during November. That’s not unusual for me, or for many people at this time of year, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. The change of light, the shorter days, and staying indoors more on colder days can lead to melancholy or depression. My reading is my personal antidote to that SAD feeling. It broadens my perspectives and gives me new ways of looking at the world. That cheers me up and also gives me a new appreciation for friends and family.
So with that said, November turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me. I enjoyed getting lost in a variety of books — a mystery, some classics, a Christmas book. I read a number of graphic novels this month, and I’m liking that genre more and more. I especially loved Debbie Tung’s Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, and look forward to her new book, Book Love, to be released in the U.S. on January 1st. My favorite book this month was Michelle Obama’s, Becoming, because it was full of courage and dignity, and hope.
For those of you living in the northern hemisphere, I hope your reading in November was enjoyable and an antidote to the darker, colder days. And for the rest of you, I also hope your November was spent immersed in wonderful books!
My November reads:
Living in Oregon means long months of dark gray skies and rainy days. I don’t mind the rain. It doesn’t stop my walking routine. “We’re waterproof,” says my walking buddy. But the endless days of gray are harder to bear. One way I deal with the grayness is to read gardening books. It’s a fun and educational gray-season focus for my reading, and I love the colors these beautiful books bring to gray days!
Isaac Israels – Girl Reading on Sofa, 1920
My early Saturday morning reading is fun! I am reading two books about books, and both came into my possession without any planning at all. My husband preordered one of the books as a lovely surprise for me, and it arrived in the mail this week. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List, by James Mustich, weighs a ton and is filled with wonderful information about authors and books. It’s like an encyclopedia for readers, a wonderful resource to have and an enjoyable read! With 948 pages and small type, I don’t know when or if I will ever read it all the way through, but I will certainly use it a lot over the years, if I can wrestle it away from other family members!
The other book is from the library, found while perusing the shelves this week. A serendipitous find, considering that I didn’t know my husband had ordered the other book for me. This book is called Vintage Reading: From Plato to Bradbury, A Personal Tour of Some of the World’s Best Books, by Robert Kanigel. For many years, the author wrote a newspaper column for the Baltimore Sun called “Vintage Reads.” This book is an extension of those articles, and is full of fun and very readable essays on classics that appealed to him.
I love reading books about books, and these two are both fun reads and excellent resources!
It’s a busy Saturday, so I’m not posting a review. Instead, I’ll just post a very nice thought…
Happy Saturday to you all!
“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
~ by Helen Hunt Jackson
Happy September, my friends! I love September and am looking forward to the cooler temperatures that allow me to sit on the porch and read. And I love watching the changing colors of the trees on my walks around my neighborhood.
My plans for September also include some travel. In the middle of the month, we will be returning to Utah for the Celebration of Life for my mother. My brothers and I have been busy planning the details, and look forward to that beautiful September day when we all meet to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman.
My reading plans include a long list of books for the Readers Imbibing Peril-#13 challenge and for The Classics Club. I will be rereading some old favorites, as well, and look forward to sharing all of this reading with you.
Reading on the porch, taking long walks, enjoying a road trip with my husband, celebrating someone I love dearly…it sounds like a lovely September to me!
Wishing you a lovely September, too!
~ Painting by Amanda Houston
Photo by Andre Kertesz, from his book On Reading.
It’s supposed to be 98 degrees here today. Must find a cool place to read this afternoon!
My husband is reading Joseph Conrad’s, Lord Jim, and he shared with me this enlightened sentence from the book knowing how much I hate reading introductions, and knowing that I refuse to read introductions BEFORE I read a story. They always ruin the story for me!
The two photos above show how my Mom prepared for book club discussions. I brought these two books home with me after she passed away three weeks ago, and I will never move the colored tabs she put there because they are such a delight to see! This is the way she always prepared for her book club, whether the one she lead at the Mt. Olympus Senior Center for 14 years, or for the local library book club that came once a month to her assisted living facility. She loved to read and talk about books, and she prepared well for the group discussions often reading the book twice, always marking the important points she wanted to remember.